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iBerkshires.com Columnist Section

Sue Bush
More articles from Sue Bush

Frigid Wind, Drifting Snow: I-I-T’s Back!

By Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, January 15, 2006

Wind-driven snow created a "frosting" on a Pownal, Vt. barn.
What a difference a day makes!

During Jan. 14’s morning and early afternoon hours, air temperatures rose to the mid-50s, and rain drenched the Berkshire/Southern Vermont region. Misty fog rolled across numerous fields and open areas, and devoured what little snow cover remained.

Then night, and the temperatures, fell.

By 10:30 p.m. Saturday evening, rain had turned to tiny, brittle snow-shards and overnight, all portions of the Berkshires and Bennington and Windham counties in Vermont were buried in several inches of snow. A fierce wind brought bitter wind chills and whipped up snowdrifts that were estimated at two-and-a-half to three feet high in some areas. Paved roads that were wet with rain iced over as the temperatures tumbled below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Municipal highway crews worked throughout the night and into the day on Jan. 15.


A strong wind gust erased visibility during the Jan. 15 afternoon.
Pittsfield highways were snow-covered and slick as of 12:30 p.m., according to city police. Road crews were attacking the slippery road surfaces and the city has announced a snow emergency until further notice. Under snow emergency conditions, parking is prohibited along all city streets. Parking is allowed at municipal parking areas on Columbus Avenue and McKay Street.

Dalton officials have also announced a snow emergency is in effect in that town until 7 a.m. Jan. 16.

In Williamstown and Adams, police reported instances of downed wires. Downed wires along Cold Spring Road caused a brief electrical power outage during the storm, according to Williamstown police. Adams police reported that several cases of downed wires did not interrupt electrical service. No serious motor vehicle accidents had been reported in either community as of noontime. Adams police reported about five inches of snow had accumulated in the town’s downtown area with increased accumulations and snowdrifts at higher elevations. About eight inches of snow fell in Williamstown and that town also faced several areas of blowing, drifting snow, according to police.

The storm caused no major problems in North Adams as of late morning, according to police. City crews were out tackling plowing chores, and wind-driven snowdrifts were causing hazardous situations in the downtown and in Florida, said city police dispatcher Dennis Tuper, who commuted to his job from Florida.

Tuper said he believed eight to ten inches of snow fell in the mountain town and the city, and he discouraged unnecessary driving because of the drifting snow and decreased visibility caused by wind-blown snow.

Jan. 15 2 p.m.: Route 7, Pownal, Vt. highway


Higher elevations of Pownal, Vt. were smothered by about 10 inches of snow and windy conditions were creating areas of drifting snow along town and state maintained roadways. The wind was decreasing as morning eased into afternoon; overnight and morning wind gusts of over 35 miles per hour occurred in portions of Pownal. Stamford received between eight and 10 inches of snow, according to several resident estimates.

Massachusetts State Police based at the Cheshire State Police headquarters reported no major incidents along their patrol area. Trooper Brian Clay said that the snow had ceased falling by 11:30 a.m. and state and municipal road crews were keeping up with snowplowing. The winds were calming down as well, Clay said.

“The plows are out and about and everything is pretty quiet,” he said.


Jan. 15 2:12 p.m., Bridges Road, Williamstown, Mass.
While area weather forecasters are predicting Jan. 15 overnight air temperatures of between zero and 10 degrees Fahrenheit and a below-zero wind chill factor, forecasts affecting Jan.18 and 19 predict a warm-up that could bring upper-30 to mid-40 degree temperatures to the region.

Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at suebush@iberkshires.com or at 802-823-9367.


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